R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril, VIII


One of the greatest things about the onset of fall is Carl’s RIP reading challenge.  Here are the details from Carl’s post:

“September 1st is right around the corner. It is time to begin.

Dark Fantasy.
Or anything sufficiently moody that shares a kinship with the above. That is what embodies the stories, written and visual, that we celebrate with the R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril event.

As time has wound on I’ve honed this event down to two simple rules:

1. Have fun reading (and watching).
2. Share that fun with others.

As I do each and every year, there are multiple levels of participation (Perils) that allow you to be a part of R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril without adding the burden of another commitment to your already busy lives. There is even a one book only option for those who feel that this sort of reading is not their cup of tea (or who have many other commitments) but want to participate all the same.

R.I.P. VIII officially runs from September 1st through October 31st. But lets go ahead and break the rules. Lets start today!!!”

At heart I am a penny dreadful, Victorian sensation novel kinda girl and this challenge plays to my passion for creepy modern literature and page-turners of the past. I’ve already assembled lists for several elements of the challenge.

Dead SecretPeril the 1st — Read 4 RIPping reads (blurbs are from Goodreads)

  • The Dead Secret by Wilkie Collins: “The Dead Secret explores the relationship between a fallen woman, her illegitimate daughter, and buried secrets in a superb blend of romance and Gothic drama.” This is also my Classics Club Spin winner!
  • The Victorian Chaise Longue by Marghanita Laski: “The charming, childish wife of a successful lawyer, falls asleep one afternoon on her Victorian chaise longue, recently purchased in an antique shop, and awakes in the fetid atmosphere of an ugly, over-furnished room she has never seen before.”
  • The Alienist by Caleb Carr:  On a cold March night New York Times reporter John Schuyler Moore is summoned to the East River by his friend and former Harvard classmate Dr. Laszlo Kreizler, a psychologist, or “alienist.” On the unfinished Williamsburg Bridge, they view the horribly mutilated body of an adolescent boy, a prostitute from one of Manhattan’s infamous brothels.
  • Murder at Mansfield Park by Lynn Shepard: “In this ingenious new twist on Mansfield Park, the famously meek Fanny Price–whom Jane Austen’s own mother called “insipid”–has been utterly transformed; she is now a rich heiress who is spoiled, condescending, and generally hated throughout the county. Mary Crawford, on the other hand, is now as good as Fanny is bad, and suffers great indignities at the hands of her vindictive neighbor. It’s only after Fanny is murdered on the grounds of Mansfield Park that Mary comes into her own, teaming-up with a thief-taker from London to solve the crime.”

Peril of the Short Story — Read a short story (or more) that fits the RIP challenge:simsdraculasguest

  • Dracula’s Guest and Other Victorian Vampire Stories edited by Michael Sims: “Michael Sims brings together the very best vampire stories of the Victorian era–from England, America, France, Germany, Transylvania, and even Japan–into a unique collection that highlights their cultural variety.”

Peril of the Screen — Watch a spooky something a write a review:

  • Ripper Street — a BBC drama series set in Whitechapel during the time of Jack the Ripper
  • Vincent Price movie marathon…. this is happening for real.

Peril of the Group Read — With the Estella Society!

  • The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova: This is a re-read for me. I read it in 2005 or 2006 and it is certainly time for revisiting this creepy, atmospheric novel.

I hope you’ll join in on this delightfully Autumnal reading adventure. Visit Carl for more details!



  1. you have a great list! I’ve read The Dead Secret.. love Wilkie Collins! ANd I read The Historian a few years back and it was very good! I hope you enjoy all your reads!

    1. I read Mansfield Park in college about 10 years ago. All I can remember is that I hated the heroine. We’ll see how it goes. I really enjoyed Lynn Shepard’s The Solitary House so I think I will like Murder at Mansfield Park.

  2. Ripper Street is very good! You’ve just reminded me that I need to finish watching the series 🙂
    Love your list, you’ve also reminded me that I have to read The Alienist at some point. I do own it, have for several years…..I need to get my hands on a copy of The Chaise Lounge, and I like the sound of the vampire collection. I read The Historian years ago too, and really enjoyed it, a very good vampire novel. Have a great challenge!

  3. I’m looking forward to the group of us reading The Historian together. It’s a reread for me, but one I know I loved the first time around. Glad to see a Wilkie Collins on your list. I’m crazy about his book The Woman In White.

  4. I’m planning on reading The Historian too (although this will be my first time reading it). It looks like you’ve got lots of great reading ahead of you. Enjoy 🙂

  5. I like a good penny dreadful myself.

    Great books on your list. I listened to an audio book version of The Alienist on cassette tape…that will tell you just how many years ago that was. The last cassette was eaten by my car stereo just at the climax and I had to wait several days before I could exchange it and listen to the end. It was ironic, if not very entertaining to have that happen. 🙂

    Wonderful to have you in again this year.

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